No arena? No problem — 5 top tips to help you achieve your goals if you don’t have access to a manége

Here’s some helpful pointers from four-star international event rider, Kate Honey (pictured), about how you can school your horse effectively even if you don’t have access to an all-weather arena

Not having an arena can seem like a daunting prospect in terms of schooling work. However, with a bit of time and imagination you can create lots of different options which in turn will make your horse use to a variety of situations.

1. Road work — if you horse is safe to hack out on the roads, you can look to incorporate some simple schooling exercises into this once they are warmed up. Such as doing lengthening and shortening in your walk and trot work. This can work especially well if you have a good hill to really engage the hind quarters. However, always remember to be wary of your surroundings and to respect other road users.

2. Hacking — in Lambourn we are lucky to have some great off-road hacking and with all the horses I will practice movements like transitions, leg yield, shoulder-in and centre lines as well as giving them some downtime to relax. We find it really beneficial to give the horses variety in their schooling work, so when we get to an event they have learnt to focus in all situations, not just in the arena. This can also link to your jumping. If on your hacking routes there are little logs or even ditches it can really benefit some horses (perhaps if they have gone a bit behind the leg) to do something different, if the ground permits.

3. Local gallops — if there are any local gallops or canter tracks nearby, remember these don’t have to be used just for fast work. They can be a great alternative good ground option to school your horse on, as long as they are available and your horse will settle.

4. Clinic and lessons — use not having an arena as an excuse to book on for some clinics or lessons. This will be good to get your horse out and about to different places and it is always beneficial to have another pair of eyes on the ground.

5. Weather permitting — when the weather and ground permits, we put up a make-shift arena in a paddock. It is essential for our eventers to get some practice schooling on grass and to work in an area without arena sides.

Now you’ve got that advice in mind, take a look at these competitions available to enter where you can put this advice into practice…

Eventer trial

Date: 27 April
Venue: Forest Edge Arena, Swaffham
Details: “This event has classes ranging from clear round and 50cm up to 1m.”
Enter now


Date: 27 April
Venue: JumpCross HQ, Peterborough
Details: “This competition has classes for juniors and seniors with heights ranging from 2’0 up to 3’3”.”
Enter now

Nervous and novice unaffiliated showjumping

Date: 27 April
Venue: Milton Equestrian Centre, Worksop
Details: “This competition has classes from clear round and 60cm up to 95cm with junior and senior sections and Traliblazers qualifiers.”
Enter now

One-day event

Date: 27 April
Venue: Brechin Castle Showground, Brechin
Details: “This event features classes from lead-rein 45cm up to 90cm with junior and senior sections.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 28 April
Venue: White Horse Farm Equestrian Centre Ltd., Harvel
Details: “This competition has a wide range of classes from intro up to medium.”
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In-hand and ridden showing show

Date: 28 April
Venue: Fenland Equestrian Centre, Wisbech
Details: “This show has a class for everyone from best junior handler to Concours D’Elegance.”
Enter now

Visit for full competition and training listings